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Israel Weekly News Roundup, June 2, 2023
5 Things you need to know
Thousands Marched in The Largest Pride Parade In Jerusalem: The Israeli LGBTQ month opened on Thursday in Jerusalem with a high security alert and high security measures. The formation of the new government, which includes homophobes and anti-LGBTQ forces, made the Jerusalem pride parade one of the largest and most political ever. Hundreds of police and other security units made sure that there was a separation between the march and the anti-pride protest. The march was also connected to the anti-judicial overhaul demonstration in Israel during the last 22 weeks. The chair of the LGBTQ association said on the stage that this was the most important march in years. The American ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, together with many Israeli politicians, all from the opposition, also marched in the center of Jerusalem. The tension around the pride parade in Jerusalem is always high following the murder of a young girl in the parade in 2015 by a Jewish extremist. Minister of national security, Itamar Ben-Gvir was expressing his views against homosexuals, and minister of finance, Bezalel Smotrich called the parade some years ago: the march of beasts, and other ministers in the government often expressed their views saying that homosexuals are sick people that should be cured. Fortunately the march ended quietly.
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An Israeli Settler Was Shot Dead By a Palestinian Squad: A father of two, who lives in one of the settlements in the West Bank was killed Tuesday. Israeli military forces are conducting a manhunt for the shooters. This incident reflects that fact that the ground is still insecure in terms of security. Israeli military forces are doing all they can to regain stability and control, but with limited success. Settler leaders are calling for the IDF (Israel Defense Force) to execute an organized and overall military operation in the West Bank, as a measure of deterrence, but it is unlikely that Israel will engage in such a campaign, due to the expected reaction from the international community, mainly the US, and the fear that this will only cause a further deterioration of the current reality on the ground.
With IDF Backing and Despite International Condemnations, Settlers Relocate Homesh Yeshiva Building: In a move designed to legalize the Homesh outpost in the West Bank, settlers erected the temporary Homesh yeshiva building several hundred meters from its original location.
Homesh, an illegal outpost, was built on private Palestinian land in the northern West Bank. It was evacuated and its homes demolished in 2005, in conjunction with the Gaza disengagement championed by PM Sharon. In 2023, the far-right Netanyahu government repealed the 2005 disengagement law and announced its intentions to legalize Jewish outposts in the West Bank, despite prior commitments made to US administrations.
The Israeli supreme court ruled that Homesh was illegal under Israeli law since it was built on private Palestinian land and ordered the state to evacuate it. The relocation of the Homesh yeshiva building to nearby Israeli “state land” is hence part of the settlers’ and the government’s plan to legalize the outpost. However, Israeli media reported that the IDF warned Defense Minister Galant that the move was “borderline legal”.
The US, the UK, Germany, and the EU publicly condemned the move. A spokesperson for the State Department emphasized that the US is “deeply troubled” by the move, “which is inconsistent with both former prime minister Sharon’s written commitment to the Bush administration in 2004 and the current Israeli government’s commitments to the Biden administration.” The Middle East and North Africa director at the German Foreign Ministry, tweeted "Settlements are illegal under international law, [and] threaten the viability of the two-state solution and efforts to lower tensions”. The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office stated "The UK opposes Israel’s decision today to allow the relocation of the illegal outpost in Homesh. Israel must honor recent commitments made in Aqaba and Sharm El-Sheikh and uphold the commitments Israel itself agreed and signed in 2004."
Anti Judicial Overhaul Protests Enter 22nd Week as Protestors Disrupt Public Appearances of Overhaul Architects: Negotiations between the coalition and the opposition over the judicial overhaul continue, while the coalition moves ahead with piecemeal efforts to pass legislation designed to curb the authority of the judiciary.
While analysts raise the question whether the anti-overhaul protest is fading or losing some of its stamina, protestors continue take to the streets every Saturday evening and to disrupt public appearances by members of the government leading the judicial overhaul. Earlier this week, MK Rothman (Religious Zionism), a leading champion of the overhaul, was evacuated by police after protestors disrupted his speech at a Tel Aviv University event. Rothman lashed out at the protestors, calling them “intellectually challenged” and blamed them for the economic crisis.
Similarly, protestors interrupted Minister of Finance Smotrich speech at a conference at the Israel Democracy Institute in Jerusalem. They called upon him to resign, held signs reading “Democracy Forever” and blamed Smotrich for destroying the Israeli Hi-Tech industry.
Anti -overhaul protests also continue overseas. Minister of Science and Technology Ofir Akunis (Likud) canceled his appearance in a Los Angeles event on Israeli tech leadership over a demonstration outside the event venue.
Israeli Soccer Team Reaches the Quarter-finals in the World Cup: This is the first time ever that Israel managed to get that far in a football/soccer world cup, Mundialito 2023. The tournament is taking place in Latin America, and is for teams of Under 20 players. Israel is not considered as fielding a powerful national football team, so this success is reaping anccolades all over the country. The Israeli team will now play against Brazil, one of the strongest soccer teams in the world, and the game is scheduled for Saturday June 3rd.